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Friday, February 19, 2016

Weeds Have A Place… On Your Plate?

“A weed is a plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Photo courtesy CBS Sunday Morning
Growing up on a traditional farming operation, weeds were always the enemy. They were the pesky nuisances that were somehow able to survive and prosper in the most disturbed environments. Of course, they were always found entrenched in the most inconvenient place for the farmer, too – the field.

This is why I had the preconception that weeds were bad, bad, bad. Wrongo! Weeds are simply a plant out of place.

I recently took a weed science course in which I discovered that people… were eating…weeds. I was a little taken aback when I learned of this idea.

First, I was concerned about people eating poisonous weeds. (Note: I wasn’t the best at identifying weeds, I later learned through my ID quizzes in the course, so this would be a big concern for me as a weed-eater. Ha!)

Secondly, I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that people ate weeds for enjoyment. It just seemed preposterous to me!

However, after watching a video my instructor showed during class (which can be found at 6:40 on this link, if you’d like to see for yourself), I quickly learned eating weeds is just like eating any other kind of grown plant or crop.

Weeds are actually a valuable food, loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and protein!

A farmer sows his seed, nurtures it, watches it grow, and eventually harvests the plant. This is for weeds and crops alike.

It may not seem like a person who grows organic weeds for consumption is practicing agriculture, but they are.

Both parties grow food for consumption, whether it is growing it for themselves, selling it at a local farmer’s market, or selling it to an agricultural cooperative (also known as a farmers’ co-op) as a traditional farmer would. Another similarity I found was there are even edible-plant tours around Central Park in New York City, comparable to an agri-tour on a farm!

Though many farmers still don’t particularly enjoy weeds growing amongst their crops, I have learned they do have a place in our environment.

I can’t say my research or the video provided has changed my mind about eating weeds, but it has enlightened me on another form of agriculture.

If you are looking for more ways to spice up your meals and you are much braver than me, check out this link for a list of some edible weeds and ways to eat them!


P.S. if you are going to eat weeds please make sure to wash them thoroughly before consumption, avoid chemically treated areas, and KNOW YOUR WEEDS!

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